Gordon budget plan: No property tax increase for New Castle County
New Castle County Executive Thomas Gordon was greeted with applause after announcing he will not seek a property tax increase in his FY2017 general fund budget, a $184.7 million spending proposal.
Gordon has yet to raise taxes during his time in office, both his current term and his previous eight-year stint as county executive.
“It’s a product of setting your goal at the beginning of the year that you’re not going to raise taxes and try and create as many programs as you can within that budget so you don’t spend other peoples’ money,” Gordon said.
Gordon stressed the importance of public safety, noting that 53 percent of general budget funds are devoted to it, and 64 cents of every county dollar received goes to public safety-related costs.
He argues the money is well spent, pointing to the additional of 15 officers to the county police staff this fiscal year and a 16.4 percent drop in crime since implementing the county’s TAPS, or targeted analytical policing system three years ago.
Gordon says he remains committed to the Route 9 Community Library scheduled to open in early 2017, allocating funds to staff it
Gordon’s total budget - including the sewer fund - totals $267.2 million, just over 4 percent larger than a year ago.
County Council will hold budget hearings over the next two months to review and discuss Gordon’s proposal before voting on a final spending plan.
County Councilman Bill Bell said he looks forward to hearing from the administration in more detail during budget deliberations over the next couple of months.
“I think the County Executive presented a very fiscally responsible – and very fiscally sound – budget proposal for 2017 and from the standpoint of county council, we’re going to work closely with the executive, his administration over the next several weeks to fine tune whatever we need to and get the budget approved.”
The budget must be approved by council by the end of the current fiscal year on June 30th.
County Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick says she needs to be comfortable it’s a budget the county can truly afford.
“I think that when we look at the budget we need to make sure we’ve got the funds available from the revenue we’re projecting to come in so that we can handle all of the business of the county. ”
Following Gordon’s budget address County Council voted unanimously to create a new county economic development strategic fund -- and allocate 7.5 million dollar to it for incentive to help bring two of DowDuPont’s planned spin-off companies to the First State.